Onyx snags $339M Japan deal for PhIII cancer med

Onyx's $851 million deal to buy out Proteolix and its potential blockbuster cancer drug is returning some handsome rewards this morning. Ono Pharmaceutical snagged the Japanese rights to the drug--carfilzomib, now in a pivotal Phase III study--for $59 million upfront and up to $280 million in development and sales-based milestones. The pact also covers development rights for ONX 0912.

Onyx sees carfilzomib as a blockbuster-in-the-making, capable of earning the same big bucks as Nexavar. In the Phase IIb data, carfilzomib showed promising response rates and good tolerability with a three-drug combination in patients with relapsed or refractory myeloma. Onyx is gearing up to file its NDA later this year in pursuit of an accelerated approval. And if they get it, Proteolix investors will be in line for a $170 million milestone payment.

"This strategically important transaction underscores the growing interest and excitement surrounding carfilzomib," said N. Anthony Coles, president and chief executive officer of Onyx. "Ono is an ideal partner in Japan given their focus on highly innovative new pharmaceutical products and their reputation for scientific excellence."

- check out the Onyx release